Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Reflection

The devil in me listens quietly – waiting
Patience of a saint she has while
She waits for me to falter, fall, flat on my face
I don’t really like her too much but she’s me
Unreal yet real - beautiful and ugly too for all to see
Who is behind the mask, devil woman or me?
We’re one of the same stuff made of same blood
Same flows through our veins like oil and vinegar
She sometimes forces her way through – playing
Me like a fiddle, strong and hard without love
My journey’s taken me inside out and yet
I dread to hear her voice – so very different

Yet similar to the voice that is mine own. 

Whispers


 Away from the multitudes
contemplating the
Vast horizon - the sunset.
Everything and everyone forlorn.
The tree next to me echoes
My existence - whispers
Its history into me.
A bluebird ventures into
The cumulous clouds-
Flying far above the land.
Distant waters rise - ice decreasing
With warmth of global magnitude
Destruction ensues and
Fish line the desolate shores
As the rain pours death fumes
Of our own holocaust.


Needy Spouses Need a Life

I'm all for hanging out with my husband, but do I need to spend every living moment with him? Hell no! 
Many of my friends are retired and what I hear most often is that either the husband is needy or it's the wife. Here's what I mean by needy. One or the other wants to spend as much time with his/her spouse as they can. Unfortunately, the other spouse is more independent and would like to do things independently from the spouse. Several years ago, one of my colleagues, who is much younger than her husband, quit her full time job because her retired husband wanted to spend more time with her. I could see she wasn't happy about it, but he was miserable, so she quit.
Marriage works great when the two individuals are truly that, individuals. It's wonderful when each one has his/her own interests and hobbies. There is plenty of time to hang out like going on vacation, dinner and breakfast, weekend dates, etc. I can't imagine what people would have to talk about if they did everything together. Ok, I'm not a talker, but really how much can two people talk about if they hang out together 24/7?
When I retire, I intend to continue doing my own thing. I might volunteer at the Humane Society or the local library, or I might take up painting like President Bush, or I might  start a new venture. Who knows? But, I don't intend on taking up golf or fishing, so I can be with him. 
I want him to continue doing what he does, and I want to begin doing what Iwant to do. As for the young folks, I say get a life and don't be needy. Really, it's not appealing nor is it productive.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Stuffed Artichokes


Italians love artichokes. It was amazing to me how few Americans knew what they were, but that was years ago. Today, artichokes are common, but I think many people still think the only way to eat them is to boil them till tender and then dip the leaves in butter. That is not true. This is only one recipe. I will try to get more artichoke recipes that I have grown up with. Some are actual meals and not just a side dish.

4          artichokes
2          cups breadcrumb
1                   cloves garlic, chopped fine
1                  tbs. grated romano cheese
parsley, salt, pepper to taste
 olive oil


Cut artichoke top off, about 1”.  Trim all leaves to remove all points with a scissor.  Open each leaf separately, rinse under cold water and let drain up side down.  While they are draining, combine breadcrumb, cheese, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. gradually add olive oil till breadcrumb is coated but not saturated.  Using a spoon, apply mixture between leaves so all artichokes have a generous amount of breadcrumb.  Make more mixture if needed, because it does depend on the size of artichokes you have bought.  
In a large pot (large enough to fit 4) place your artichokes and enough water to reach middle of artichoke.  When water is simmering, add 4 chicken bullions and let cook on simmer for at least one hour.  Leaves should easily come off and be tender to touch.

In Doubt There's Belief

How often does my heart
doubt the existence of the Lord
above?
How often do I seek to find
the essence of his truth and
love?
How often do I call out his
name and hear silence in
return?
How often do I wish to 
learn of his presence and his
word?
Often, but in my doubt ~
when I question ~
I realize that therein lies
the core of my belief.

Women need Women

I have not researched this theory, but I do have four sisters, and through the years I'm sure I have known hundreds of women, maybe even thousands if I consider my female students, so maybe I do have some unorthodox data to prove my thesis that women need women.
Men are wonderful - some of them- but they do not satisfy all of our needs. Most men try to solve a problem when a woman complains about something; for example, if a woman comes home from work and has had a bad day, maybe her boss was being difficult or something, a man will usually say something like, "so quit," or he might say, "tell the s.o.b. to take a hike!" This is not what a woman wants to hear. Actually, a woman doesn't want any solutions at all. What she wants is someone to talk to, vent, and then go on with her day. She needs to get it off her chest. Women don't want men to solve their problems. They can solve their own problems. That's why women need women.
When women get together, we take turns bitching and complaining about work, relationships, children, our weight, our hair, etc. Women listen, nod, return the emotion they sense from the other, embrace or tap a hand in comfort and understanding, and are genuinely there for the other person, without giving solutions. Now don't misunderstand, women do give advice but not solutions. That's for the person to figure out on her own.
Women need women as confidants, so we can bounce off ideas or just complain. That's what we do.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I Suppose

I suppose there's an angel in all of us, but darn if I can find the angel in me anytime. Today, I became upset with people who don't pick up after themselves. You know who I mean? Well, I'm talking about colleagues who use the coffee lounge and don't clean up their mess after having used either a dish or cup or microwave or toaster oven. Many times, I or others will clean the sink full of dishes or clean the toaster and microwave, but most of us are tired of being the cleaning service.
I wonder what these messy people are like at home. Do they eat and then leave the dirty dishes for their spouse or parent? Is their house a pig sty? Who picks up after them? Do they finally clean up after a week of build up? 
Then I think maybe they're just as dirty on themselves. Do they wear the same underwear until the week is over? Do they return their dirty shirt or blouse to the hanger or the pile in the closet? Do they shower? Can I tell who the culprits are if I look at their hair or stand next to them? Are their toe nails long and unkempt? Do they have dirty finger nails? The list goes on and on.
I remember (I do a lot of this) a fifth grade teacher telling us that it was ok not to have a lot of clothes or not be fashionable, but it was never ok to be dirty because everyone should have soap and water available to them.
Too bad some people never heard her comment. It's really sad some people don't understand that it's insulting to others to be unclean and messy. Dirty people smell. People who don't do their own dishes or clean a microwave they have dirtied are disrespectful to their colleagues because the lounge belongs to all of the employees not just a few.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness? It doesn't matter whether someone believes in God or not. Cleanliness is just plain healthy all around.

Spring




Cows moo with pleasure
as they graze on crisp, cool grass
fed by April springs.
Chickens, roosters and guinea hens
strut about in early morning glory
arousing sleepers with their incessant cries. 
Hickory and Walnut trees stand magnificent
resplendent and bountiful with sweet fruit.
Each year their height and width increases
in circles of age and time.
Daffodils carpet the earth in gold.
Spring in Georgia Mountains
Shades of blue sky high. 
My log cabin sits
still holding me inside
I hibernate in order to rejuvenate

to breathe free, to feel full, to think bliss.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Silence

Women have a lot to say. According to Chaucer as he depicts the Wife of Bath in Canterbury Tales, women cannot keep their mouths shut. He suggests that women cannot keep secrets. I think he was on to something. We have to tell someone! Or, we die (or at least we think we will die).
I truly don't know why we can't keep secrets. We end up finding out a bit of gossip from a good friend of ours and then we tell our next best friend, who then tells her best friend, etc., etc., etc. until the secret comes back to us from the person we told the secret about.
Sometimes I think women are dense - I'm dense. Of course I know (don't we all?) but the next time a secret comes around, I tell. Usually, I tell my husband since he's a guy and guys don't tell secrets because they don't really care about secrets or all that petty stuff women care about. I know that once I tell my husband, he'll forget about it (if he even heard me), and then it's over. I've told someone yet nothing damaging occurs.
What's my point? My point is we women must come to the realization that if we gossip about someone then guaranteed someone is gossiping about us, so we should all stop, stop, stop gossiping! It's bad karma and what goes around comes around. I know bad cliche, but what the heck. I'm on a roll.

B.Q. Lamb Chops

These are the most delicious lamb chops you will ever taste. It's all in the length of time they sit in the marinade. These are our main meal for Easter served with a Spring Salad and stuffed Artichokes.







                    This is serving for 2.

8          baby lamb chops
3          sprigs of rosemary
1/2       cup olive oil
1/4       cup lemon juice 
2          cloves garlic, pressed
pepper to taste
salt to taste

Combine ingredients and marinate for overnight. B.Q. lamb chops for about 8 - 10 min (about 4 to 5 minutes per side) depending on your taste. We like them pink in center.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Women Are Different

We women view life differently. If someone we love forgets to call, for whatever reason, we think we've done something wrong. A man will not think about it at all. I used to ask my husband, "Honey what are you thinking about?" He would say, "Nothing." I thought he was lying. I thought he was thinking about something he didn't want to share with me. I thought that maybe he was thinking about work or golf or something. Well, I have learned that when a man says he's not thinking about anything, he really isn't thinking about anything. Ask a woman that same question, and she'll have a million things she's thinking about.
We're wired differently. We can think about dozens of topics simultaneously. It must have something to do with our innate ability to multi-task, since we're born with the natural instinct to mother, and we all know that mother's have eyes in the back of their heads and on the same side as their ears. We hear and see everything, and we think about the world's problems including our own at the same time. These are all good qualities to have until these same qualities ruin our lives.
I know I'm not alone because most of my friends think the same way. A girlfriend doesn't call and immediately we think we did or said something to offend her. If she calls and says she wants to talk, we think we did or said something wrong. We take things personally, so we suffer little hurts over and over again. Men can easily shrug things off like a duck shrugging off water. We women drown - we're not ducks and we're not men.
I would like to learn to stop taking things personally. I wish all women would learn to stop taking things personally, then maybe, just maybe, we would experience less sadness, depression, heartache, and oh so much more.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gnochi with Brocolli and Chestnuts


Imagine a combination of woodsy broccoli and the sweet taste of chestnuts, that's what you will find with this extraordinary meal or side dish. The unfortunate part of this dish is that it cannot be made year round, since chestnuts (not water chestnuts) are available only in the fall. Last year I froze some, but the taste was not the same when they defrosted.

1           head of broccoli,  florets only
2           cups chicken broth
12       cooked & peeled chestnuts
       salt & pepper to taste
3           tbs. olive oil
3     cups water
1           lb. pasta, any kind will do - gnochi is fun

Cut stems from broccoli and save just the florets.  Clean broccoli florets and place in chicken broth. Cook till broccoli is soft.  Cut cooked chestnuts into halves or quarters and add to broccoli. Cook for at least one hour on simmer.

Boil pasta separately, but allow the last five  minutes of cooking time to take place with the broccoli and chestnuts, so drain pasta and place with broccoli and chestnuts.  Drizzle olive oil  over pasta mixture just before you serve.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  If you need more broth, add little at a time, so you have just a little broth with the pasta. May serve with Peccorino Romano.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Biscotti Warm from the Oven



I remember smelling the warmth
From many blocks away
Mom baked her famous cookies
I would eat them straight from the oven.

Cinnamon, sugar, flour and vanilla
The kitchen full of love and comfort.
A glass of milk and four cookies on a plate.

Those were days of innocence
What childhood memories are made of.
Mommy with her apron 
Full of flour.

I smell the cookies now
In my days of age
And my tears flow slowly~
memories of long ago.

Socialization is now Dehumanized

I was at Panera's Bread Cafe yesterday and once again I observed people who gather for lunch only to take out their cell phones or smart phones and proceed to ignore the person they're with, so they can text, search, or do whatever they do. What has happened to simply talking to one another?
My students admit they would rather text their friends than actually talk to them in person. Microblogs, snapchat, tumblrs, tweets, and instagrams are becoming more popular than Facebook. These apps don't require as much dialogue and they concentrate more on videos and pictures. So, where are the social skills? Where are students learning how to interact in person? And, it's not just teens or young adults. It's the older population as well.
I had lunch with a good friend of mine recently and within the first ten minutes, she answered two calls. I turned my phone off. I admit she's younger than I, but really? We can't live one hour without answering the phone? Not only did she answer her phone, but as we waited for lunch, she texted her husband a few times as well. Truth? I wanted to walk out. Instead, I smiled and raised my shoulders as if to say, "oh well, what can you do?"
There's a time and place for everything. I understand one should have their phones on if they have children, just incase, or if there's an expected phone call that is very, very important, but I think we should try going back to talking with one another. Putting our phones down will not hurt us. Watching someone's facial expressions as you communicate can actually be wonderful. Knowing you're being heard is important. I don't want to turn back the times. I realize that's impossible and impractical, but I really wish we could go back to talking face to face.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Books


I love to read
To hide in the depths of a
 great story
With drama outside my own life
Pretending their existence is much
worse than mine
I dismiss my own troubles in order
to dive into the turbulent waters
of a grand stage
and an even grander life.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Crawfish Pie



Crawfish pie is not the simplest pie to make, but it sure is delicious. I have simplified the meal by buying the pie shell instead of making one. This meal freezes well, so you can make one or more ahead of time and serve when your pallet is feeling adventurous. Trust me on this  one, it is the very best crawfish pie you've ever had!!

Dry Ingredients:
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. for ea. dry thyme, basil, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and Cajun blend spice
¼ tsp. for ea. garlic powder, onion, and corn starch
Combine all ingredients and set aside.
2 deep dish pie shells – defrosted
No need to bake beforehand.
Roux
¼ cup butter
¾ cup flour
Whisk over stove till color is golden.
Filling
½ cup for ea. chopped onions, chopped green bell pepper, scallion stems,
¼ cup for ea. chopped celery
2 cloves garlic minced.
Combine with roux over stove till vegetables are well coated and a bit limp.
Heat heavy cream in a pot till simmering and then add roux with veg. Add crawfish and 2 tblspns. Butter.
Pour into pie shell, cover with second pie shell and crimp ends. Aerate both bottom and top with fork.
Bake in preheated 350 oven for 45 minutes till top is golden brown.


Flying

The eglets flew today
they branced, fledged 
And then
They flew
What was it like? I wonder
to soar for the first time into the great blue
enjoying the freedom yet not sure if they were going to land
on the right spot or if they would rememer the way back home
Were they followed by mom and dad?
Did they return tired?
Glad to be back
in the nest
safe and sound.

You're Never Too Old to Learn Something New

     

   
Sometimes I think people forget (myself included) that everyday is an opportunity for us to learn something new. The lesson doesn't have to be astounding but it can be a bit of information you never had before. Today, my students were presenting their arguments regarding contemporary issues. Presenters discussed removing jail time for drug users and replacing this with rehabilitation; legalization of marijuana; maintaining gun laws as is so everyone can be armed, and so on. We had pro/con for each topic. I learned quite a bit from their research even though I thought I had my mind made up on certain topics.
      That got me thinking why it is that as we get older we think we have all the answers. We don't. I think it's actually better if we realize we know very little and have much to learn before we die.
Recently, someone I know remarked how he learned nothing from a situation that I thought taught many of us a very important lesson. I felt pity for him. I think we can learn from all situations, and from all relationships.
      I think an open mind is a wonderful thing because then we can fill it with new and interesting knowledge. Then, maybe we can change to become better human beings. What an awful world it would be if people thought they had nothing left to learn once they graduated high school or college. I wish I had a dollar for everytime I have heard the words, "I can't wait to graduate, so I never have to read another book." I can't imagine not reading; it would be like taking the air out of my lungs.
     I hope I will continue to learn till the day I die. I hope I never believe I know it all because that will be the day I know even less than I know today.